The Key Trait of Top Employees: Unveiling the Secret to Their Success

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I have always been fascinated by the exceptional abilities and traits possessed by top employees in various industries. As I embarked on my quest to uncover the secret to their success, it became evident that there is one key trait that sets them apart from the rest. In this blog post, I want to share my findings and shed light on this elusive quality that propels individuals to the pinnacle of their careers. Join me as I unveil the secret to the remarkable achievements of these exceptional employees.

The Key Trait of Top Employees: Unveiling the Secret to Their Success


As an authority in the field of recruitment and human resources, I am constantly seeking ways to identify top employees and understand the secret behind their success. In pursuit of this knowledge, I had the pleasure of interviewing Doug Haines, co-founder of Marketing Pros, a recruitment agency based in South Africa. Our conversation shed light on a fascinating aspect of the hiring process. In the past year, Doug’s agency has successfully hired almost five people from South Africa to join their team. What intrigued me the most was the remarkable enthusiasm and drive to improve things that Doug noticed among the South African candidates. This stood in stark contrast to his experiences with staff members from the UK, where a perceived laziness can sometimes hinder productivity. Let’s dive deeper into this topic and explore the key trait that sets top employees apart.

The Work Ethic in South Africa vs. the UK:

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  1. A Positive Difference:

During our interview, Doug highlighted a significant difference in the work ethic of South African candidates compared to their UK counterparts. He noted that the individuals he hired from South Africa possessed an exceptional level of enthusiasm and drive to excel in their roles. This eagerness to improve and achieve success made a noticeable impact on the overall performance and productivity of the team.

  1. Addressing Laziness:

In contrast, Doug shared his experiences with staff members from the UK, where laziness can sometimes be perceived as an issue. He emphasized that addressing this ongoing concern within the UK workforce is crucial to maintaining a high level of productivity. By consistently addressing the issue of laziness, Doug and his team strive to create an environment that fosters growth and motivates employees to give their best.

The Key Trait of Top Employees:

According to Doug, the key trait that sets top employees apart is their intrinsic motivation. He believes that this internal drive to succeed and constantly improve is what separates the average performers from the exceptional ones. Top employees possess a deep sense of determination, grit, and passion that fuels their relentless pursuit of excellence. This combined with a growth mindset helps them overcome challenges and stand out in their respective fields.

Why is Intrinsic Motivation Important?

  1. Self-Driven Success:

Intrinsic motivation enables employees to take charge of their own success. Instead of relying solely on external factors like rewards or recognition, top employees consistently strive to challenge themselves, learn new skills, and achieve their goals. This self-driven approach allows them to continuously grow and excel in their chosen profession.

  1. Adaptability:

Employees with intrinsic motivation are more adaptable to changing circumstances. They embrace challenges as opportunities rather than obstacles. This flexibility enables them to embrace new technologies, processes, and ideas, keeping themselves ahead of the game.

  1. Problem Solving:

Intrinsic motivation also plays a vital role in problem-solving. Top employees view obstacles as puzzles to be solved rather than roadblocks. Their inner drive allows them to approach problems with creativity and resilience, always finding innovative solutions.


Unveiling the secret to the success of top employees has been a long-standing pursuit in the field of human resources. Through my interview with Doug Haines, I discovered that intrinsic motivation is the key trait that distinguishes exceptional employees from the rest. This internal drive to constantly improve, paired with a growth mindset, helps top employees excel in their roles, adapt to changing circumstances, and overcome challenges. As recruiters and hiring managers, it is crucial for us to identify and nurture this critical trait within potential candidates to foster a motivated and high-performing workforce.


  1. How can I foster intrinsic motivation in my team?
  2. Are there any other traits that contribute to the success of top employees?
  3. Can intrinsic motivation be developed or is it innate?
  4. How can I address laziness within my organization?
  5. What are some strategies to maintain a high level of productivity among employees?
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